One of the most neglected ministries in the Church today is the Men’s Ministry. At my local church—Ustick Baptist Church in Boise, Idaho—this is changing by God’s grace. Very often, however, Men’s ministries are viewed as an add-on ministry in the church. While they (men’s ministries) are viewed as important ministries, the teaching therein is often shallow, sporadic, and typically focused more on “principles” men are supposed to be employing in their marriages, with very little emphasis on discipling one another intentionally from the Word of God. Alternatively, there is also a view out there (in the Church as a whole) that upholds the “Men’s Ministry” as a vessel for the catalyst required for revival in our country.
While revival may be an elusive idealism, I believe men are to be the leaders in the home and the church. After all, as Jonathan Edwards taught the home is to be a mini-church. To say, as some do, that men “waking up” and being the leaders (both within the Church and in the home) is the catalyst for revival is to use imprecise theological language, and though perhaps not intentionally misleading people, does teach them that revival is man’s work not God’s doing through His Word. To combat both the error of false revival and the over-emphasis of a principle-driven men’s ministry, what we require is a better model: open the Bible, teach from it (without adding to or distracting from its meaning), and help other men learn to do the same.
I have been entrusted with the great honor of leading the Men’s Evening Bible Study at my local church. I’ve been doing this now since last September. The emphasis of the Men’s Evening Bible Study is on caring for one another (through praying for one another’s needs), instruction from the Word of God (through a short message prepared by the evening speaker), and engaging one another in meaningful discussion regarding the topic of study that night. This may not be the best format for everyone, but I’ve found it works for our group at Ustick Baptist Church. Whether your Men’s ministry uses this model or another one for ministry, the focus of all Men’s ministry events should be the Word of God. At my church, we have a monthly Men’s event where we focus on fellowship. While we also have a time of sharing, it is not the focus during these events; our group intentionally decided to keep it open-ended. Often we will minister to one another, and/or just to get to know one another better through fellowship. While each church’s “Men’s ministry” goals may be different, we’ve found that men respond well to this and even had a few men who have become more involved in the church as a result. We’re also working hard at our church to make sure older men interact with younger men—an attempt to bridge the generation gap that can often cause great separation or exclusionism. The young adult ministry intersects with the Men’s Ministry by supporting the events that the Men’s Ministry sponsors. Even the Women’s Ministry has helped support the Men’s Ministry by encouraging the ladies to bring their husbands on Wednesday evenings, since both groups have a bible study during the same hour.
While I understand why many emphasize that revival may be caused by men rising up and leading in the home/church/society, and believe this is vital for biblical manhood, I disagree. I disagree with the verbiage used to describe this, because the reason men desire to lead their families and the church is because of God’s grace; it’s not something they desire to accomplish on their own accord (no matter how many Bible studies they attend). God moves on men’s hearts causing them to want to lead. It is God’s work in men’s hearts and not men “rising up” that causes true revival. The imprecision of language used when talking about Men’s ministry is often “man-driven”. We need to repent of this imprecision of language for two reasons: a) it matters how we say things, and b) we will be held accountable for what we say. God alone can cause a revival—He only asks us to do as He has instructed; which is the sole reason any men’s ministry exists.
My encouragement to those of you who are pastors and or ministry leaders in the local church is to teach the men the Word of God, even if you don’t believe in (or agree with) everything I’ve written here. Find other trustworthy men to teach in the Men’s ministry at your church. Be intentional about being intergenerational with the men in the church—encourage young adults to come to the Men’s events, and engage older men on the topic of mentoring younger men. There is such a need when it comes to Men’s ministries in the Church. At our church, we’ve only started to improve the Men’s Ministry, but I’m very thankful for what God is doing in our midst. I’m encouraged by how the Lord is bringing men to our times of fellowship and Bible studies; God is certainly doing a work of His grace in our midst!
With all of that said, as the Church we need to change the way we approach Men’s ministry. Rather than being principle and/or topic oriented, we need to be Bible-saturated/Bible-oriented. We need to open the Bible together, hear it taught, engage our minds in what it says, and respond, by His grace, in obedience to the truth therein. The gospel calls us to this kind of obedience—it calls us to obey because of the grace of God. This is the reason why Men’s ministry (as an entity) needs to change. If we really want to see revival happen, it will happen as it did in Ezra 7-10, as men and women heard the Word of God and responded to what it says. That is the true cause of revival—being doers of the Word via the outworking of the Holy Spirit.
The next time you talk about revival, don’t make yourself or what you’re doing the focus; instead, make Jesus the focus of your Men’s ministry gatherings. Jesus is the only One who can bring revival. Yes, we are the means by which He chooses to do this—ordinary people like you and me. He primarily uses the preaching and teaching of His Word. Revival occurs when the Holy Spirit enflames the message of the Bible within men’s and women’s hearts, bringing about true change. This is why we should commit the teaching of the Word to trustworthy (godly) men in our midst. The Spirit uses godly, qualified men to bring forth the teaching and preaching of His Word. Revival is ultimately up to God; none of it can be planned—it will happen in God’s timing and for His glory. Let us therefore be faithful as men to teach others in our churches, both young and old. Let us rise up and teach the Word of God, praying that the Holy Spirit will blow a mighty wind of revival through the teaching of His Word, so that our land may repent and turn to Him and be healed, in His time and for His glory.